One tournament. Fourteen locations. Sixty-eight teams. Eighteen game days. One winner.
The madness is back, and if this year's NCAA basketball tournament is anything like last year's bracket-busting excitement, we're in for some entertaining games. This year, we're especially excited because the tournament ends in our own backyard, at U.S. Bank Stadium. That's right! The nation's top four Division 1 teams will battle it out for a chance at the title right here in Minneapolis, April 5–8.
Whether you're watching from your sofa, the local bar, or want to grab a drink after the game here in town, here are some cocktails based on the No. 1 seeded teams and some Minnesota craft beers to get you in the spirit.
Duke - No. 1 in East Regional
Rooting for the Blue Devils? We have the perfect concoction for you. This Blue Devil Cocktail is both beautiful and delicious.
Directions: Dip rim of cocktail glass in lime juice then confectioner sugar. Place glass aside. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, rum, Curacao, and orange juice. Shake well. Pour into cocktail glass with ice and garnish with a slice of lime.
Virginia Cavaliers - No. 1 in South Regional
Yahoo for the Wahoos! The Cavalier Cocktail is sure to get you excited for the big tournament.
Directions: Add ingredients, shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and enjoy the games.
North Carolina - No. 1 in Midwest Regional
If North Carolina caught your eye this season, try a cocktail created by local Carolina Inn called the Tarheeltini.
- Belvedere Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz. simple syrup
- Dash of Blue Curacao
- Lemon wheel for garnish
Directions: Add ice and ingredients to cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour into short glass and enjoy.
Gonzaga - No. 1 in West Regional
Gonzaga is a force to be reckoned with this year, with a 30–3 regular season record. If you're rooting for the Bulldogs, why not enjoy The Bulldog Smash.
- 1 tsp. sugar cane syrup
- 2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
- 3/4 oz. Cointreau
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- Half of a pitted peach
- Half a lemon
Directions: Muddle lemon, peach, mint, and sugar cane syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add bourbon and Cointreau, then fill with ice. Shake well. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.
Championship Craft Beer Lineup
- Summit EPA
- Surly Furious
- Bent Paddle Venture Pils
- Fulton Lonely Blonde
- Bauhaus Wagon Party
- Bad Weather Windvane Red Ale
- Castle Danger Ode IPA
Of course, if you're looking for a downtown destination before or after a game, Haskell's Wine Bar is conveniently located off Nicollet Avenue. We have wine, beer, coffee, and deli-style foods. Plus, we'll be featuring specials to celebrate the big tournament. No matter who you're rooting for or where you're from, we'd love to see you!